“Why” is a word I stayed away from in the past; it seemed almost sacrilegious, as, if, it would harm God’s reputation, cause legions of people to leave their faith, decrease the sales of Bibles, and in the end shame the Church. It’s a word, which often elicits anxiety, used century after century by those in power and those who are powerless, by those who have great wealth and those who are at the depths of poverty, and by those who have great faith and those who have no faith. I heard a list of “whys” yesterday:
- “Why did God let this happen?”
- “Why does God allow cancer?”
- “Why am I sick?”
- “Why can’t I get a job?”
- “Why do I get all the tough breaks?”
- “Why doesn’t God do something?”
- “Why does my spouse treat me this way?”
- “Why do good people suffer?”
- “Why did my child . . . spouse . . . family member . . . friend die?”
- “When I trusted God, nothing changed. Why, would I trust God now?”
I prayed with each of those who were brave and honest enough to use the word, “why.” In the past, I would have suggested replacing the word, “why,” with the word, “what.” However, I needed more experience with the “whys” of life. That said, my goal was to help the individual to see there’s a responsibility on our part to take action when the going gets tough, asking, “What do you want me to do God?”
But, asking “what” does not always take care of the “whys” in our life.
Over the years, I’ve learned struggling with the “whys” of our life, being honest with God, and asking the hard questions may not fix the situation; however, it will transform how we perceive and manage it all. And. Yes, I know God knows our questions. Even so, when we process our challenges with God, honest vulnerability is exchanged for divine strength.
It helps me to remember how Jesus struggled with what was ahead for Him. And. He was honest about His struggle as He prayed in the garden.
He distanced Himself from them about a stone’s throw and knelt there, praying.
Jesus: Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me. Yet not My will, but Your will, be done.
(Luke 22: 41-42, The Voice).
The Apostle Paul struggled with what he called a “thorn in the flesh” and wrote about it in his letter to the Corinthian church:
I begged the Lord three times to liberate me from its anguish; and finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me. I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong.
(II Corinthians 12:8-10, The Voice)
God doesn’t necessarily fix our “whys” the way we want, but rather makes us strong to manage our “whys.” I pray you will be blessed with strength in your “whys.”
The girls and I have had a few lunches out this summer–it has provided them with an opportunity to ask me a lot of questions–all prefaced with the word, “why.”
You are invited to my last Sunday at South Salem Nazarene:
Sunday, August 31 at 10:45 AM
South Salem Nazarene Church 1661 Boone Rd SE Salem, OR 97306
(Go south on Commercial and turn left before it intersects on Kuebler at Arby’s on Boone Road. From I5 south, take the Kuebler exit, turn right and turn right on Stroh (third right after exit), left on Boone Rd.)
Words, Defining, Challenging, Life-Changing Words, There’s More To the Story, Praying for you, Leaving the Impossible Behind, Praying hands . . . make me strong; New Beginnings . . . Sacred Place . . . Oceans, The Road Ahead . . . ,One Moment, Moving To Brookings, Oregon and Run Hard and the devotion, God’s Will.
(Written by Kerrie Carlisle Palmer © 2014 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)